Counting Down

We’re starting the Baby Clock around here with three weeks to go until due date. And we started it off with a happy weekend.

I called dibs on giving Kat’s shower pretty much thirty seconds after she announced baby on board. I love giving showers because what could be happier than sharing the anticipation of a life together (wedding) or a new life (baby) with female friends and family? For me, it’s one of the sweetest of rituals.

And for me, the weekend starts off with a short work day on Friday to make room for a workout before the kids come up for dinner. Since Kayla has a meet on Saturday, that means pasta for the runner. I happen to have red sauce I made from Jo’s garden tomatoes bagged in the freezer–so that’s easy.

It’s nice to have the kids around at the end of the week, to catch up on what they’re doing, and how they’re doing. I can report Logan’s gained another inch. It’s so cute how he kind of leans over to hug me now.

As the shower’s on Sunday, I have all day Saturday to prep. And I have two young men to help out in Logan and Colt. I admit I wasn’t sure if Colt would really pitch in, but boy, did he. And Logan’s a solid workhorse when motivated.

Pavers and walkways swept, deck chairs cleaned, trash out, this hauled up, that hauled down, kitchen floor scrubbed, and chairs, chairs and more chairs carted into the living room for an expected party of about 40.

Thanks, guys!

I have (personally stuffed) a boatload of party favor bags waiting in the backroom, along with some of the gifts sent here, the game supplies and prizes organized, and many, many bottles of champagne chilling.

And the cake arrives. Oh just wow!!! Kat wanted a dinosaur theme, and Lacy the amazing baker has created a truly delightful masterpiece. I have to do a driveway happy dance when I see it.

Dinolicious!

Then hold the dogs who are just as delighted with her and the scent of her dogs on her shoes while Logan runs up to open the door so she can carry the cake inside. She takes it down to the laundry room where I’ll close the door to keep the dogs from sampling it.

Wake to rain on Sunday, the all-day kind. But that’s not going to dampen the party. Natoma (Gifts Inn Boonsboro manager and excellent caterer) arrives with her daughter Hannah to set up. At Kat’s request the dino theme continues with some cute touches like dino-shaped chicken bites, dessert ‘Dirt’, dino gummies, blue punch (it’s a boy, after all) and a terrific array of food.

No one’s going to leave this party hungry!

Laura arrives with the flowers I asked her to pick up–and pick out. So, so pretty, all those rich fall colors. Just perfect. Sarah comes early, too, to lend a hand.

Dogs, sad for them, now locked on the front deck so they won’t enthusiastically jump on arrivals.

The house starts to fill, time to pour champagne, wine, sparkling blue punch. Time for girl energy and hugs and greetings. When the guest of honor arrives, she’s glowing. A sweet ritual, yes, but also an important one, one that celebrates women, their power, their bonds, their strengths.

And more special here, Kat has such a lovely and diverse circle of women in her life. From our Kayla at sixteen, to women in their 70s, from college friends, work friends, aunts, cousins, a woman she met Panera and bonded with over knitting.

And so my house is filled with joy and love, with laughter and female voices.

Game time!* A little baby word scramble to start–and we actually have one contestant who got every one. Some brain in there. For the next game–listing songs with Baby in the title, we have a tie between spa girls (obviously veteran game players!) Nicole and Kat. I have to run up to the One More Room for another prize. The final game has all those women holding a card to their foreheads and trying to draw a baby without looking. Mama-To-Be will judge the winner.

Most turn out like you’d expect. But two somehow managed to draw actual babies. This is quite the skill and requires another trip to the One More Room for yet another prize as it’s another tie.

Game winners!

Time for more food!

I let the dog off the deck, and–as I should’ve known–they sneak into the house. The ladies are just as pleased to see dogs as dogs are pleased to be seen so I let them stay for a bit.

Then banish them outside.

It’s time to open all those wonderful gifts.

Such fun, and all those adorable baby things. Jo had suggested we request a favorite book in lieu of a card to start the baby’s library. While there were a few duplicates, it’s amazing to me how much variety. So many beloved children’s books piling up. My choice, Where The Wild Things Are, as I read that one over and over to both my boys. Now my boy can read it to his.

Cake! Countless pictures have been taken of that cake, and more than one bemoans cutting into that work of art. However, what’s inside is just as fabulous. Kat’s favorite strawberry shortcake. Mmmm.

As guests leave, more hugs. Pals load all those baby gifts into cars–and Kat’s still glowing. I get one more rub of that beautiful baby bump as the next time I see Kat will be at the birthing center.

Nora


*I played no games.  But took photos. ~Laura

Did I miss the games?

Catching Up

Doing a lot of that now with the summer travel behind me. Lots and lots of fun had by all, and now it’s time (or almost) to dive back into routine.

We finished up the summer travel with an earlier-than-usual trip to NYC. With Kat due next month, we moved that fall tradition up. And were gifted with my kind of weather. Hot and sunny!

Hot and sunny didn’t stop me from the hunt for more Christmas presents. I did pretty well on that front. It also didn’t stop me from indulging my weakness for boots. Mmm, boots. The best thing about cold weather, imo.

BW and I hit a street fair the day we got in–and there I scored some adorable onsies for you know who. Later in the week, Jason and I hit The Gap, naturally ended up in the baby section. TBD (they haven’t settled on his name) can now celebrate his first Halloween as Chewbacca (cutest little one-piece, winter weight deal) or a cat (adorable cat hoodie with little ears!)

Nora at the 6th Avenue Street Fair

More fun for me to see how into the baby clothes my baby boy was.

Spent a great day shopping and hanging out with my fabulous editor and amazing agent–so we, too, were able to catch up in person. We had Waitress picked as our Broadway night, but said amazing agent was able to score Hamilton tickets.

Wow. Just wow. A stupendous show. Glorious. Oh, the voices, the music. The energy. We just loved it.

Temps dropped and rain moved in as we packed up last Sunday. We figure this is the last trip with Pregnant Kat. Next time: BABY!

Our girl is doing great, looking great as she comes down the last leg.

Back home to delighted dogs.

Really happy to get back to work last week, to dive into that routine.

Kept a close eye on Florence as she pushed her way toward the Carolinas. Scary and awful, and I’m hoping any of you who might have been in her path got to safety. Heart-breaking to see the damage she’s done.

Nora and Kayla

Here, while we had rain, rain, rain last weekend and into the start of the week, it went back to warm and sunny. Warm, sunny–and very humid for yesterday’s booksigning. But that didn’t stop readers from traveling to Turn The Page, and helping make it a really fun day for everyone. My favorite visitor was a young boy who came with his mom and some friends. He wanted to know if I was His Grandmother’s Author, and was skeptical at first because I wasn’t wearing the same earrings I wore on the book jacket.

Another fave brought their aunt in Puerto Rico to the signing via FaceTime. Now that’s fun!

Technology works!

It’ll be back to routine for me on Monday, and I’ll have a good, solid week of work before the weekend. And . . . Kat’s baby shower next Sunday. Seriously can’t wait. We’ll have friends, family, games, (sorry, Laura!)* prizes, all those adorable baby things for Mom-To-Be to open, good food, wine–and an amazing cake. We’ll be sure to take some pictures.

After that, it’ll be time for Countdown To Baby!

Nora


* She’s not sorry.  ~Laura

Cranky Publicist beach update

(Though it’s hard to be cranky at the beach.)

The day Nora and family headed home from Montana, I moved my office to the beach for three weeks.  While Nora settled back into her at-home routine, I’d pick up where I left off last year.  And start with the sunrise: 

Our little place is right on the ocean with steps down to the beach. My favorite part of the outdoor space is the spot at the top of the dune with chairs and a view.

My seat, my mug, a reflection.

The days at the beach have a basic framework: sunrise watch, work, workout, work, end the afternoon with a book* and a cold drink, watch night fall after dinner.  Since I’m not my pal Nora, I head to the nearby Y to workout with other members of humanity.  Just before we got here I was released from the post-eye-surgery workout restrictions and I needed to bench press something heavy and sweat through spin.

Just happened to arrive before I left Maryland.

Two days in, I had the happiest email from Nora.  The grandkids came up for dinner the night after they returned for a joyous reunion.  Nora swore Logan grew another inch as he swooped toward 9th grade, Kayla had three weeks of cross country practices under her belt and Colt was ready to discuss all the books he’d read in the last three weeks.  She spent time in the gardens, baked some bread, shook off the travel fatigue and couldn’t wait until Monday to get in some solid work on In Death #49.

Labor Day meant our kids arrived for the holiday weekend while Nora and BW packed up again for a week in NY.  I think I mentioned it’s early this year to clear the decks for Master Yet-to-be-Named Wilder Pong Aufdem-Brinke’s arrival.

The NYC reports included days of hiking in search of remaining Christmas gifts. On a trip to find a new puzzle for Kat, Nora stopped by the Fifth Ave Barnes & Noble on Leverage in Death release day.  She surprised (and thrilled) the staff there by signing stock.  They shared on all their social media here.  I shared it on the various Nora/JD social media as well.

I missed the annual shop and theater trip with Nora’s agent and editor, but Leslie kept me in the loop with photos of footwear Nora found.  They saw Waitress, but I’ve yet to hear a review.

I’ve got to admit that I crave these.
Because winter is coming.

In the meantime, I kept to routine.

Morning surfer
A short walk to the water.

Nora heads home tomorrow and, other than baby showers, baby arrivals and signings will happily stay put until after Halloween.   I have a few more days here, then head home Thursday so I’ll be at Nora’s side at the TTP signing next Saturday.

All signs point to mid-week as the best time to leave because after 18 days with no rain, Florence lurks in the Atlantic:

Unexpected guest

In the meantime, I’ll watch a couple more sunrises and breathe in the salt air.

Fiery sky
Eve Dallas hoodie available at TTP.

Laura

* I also read Nalini Singh’s Rebel Hard, Illona Andrew’s Magic Rises and Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians.